Public Affairs
Paperback $24.99
The Black Panthers
Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution


“Brilliant, painful, enlightening, tearful, tragic, sad, and funny, this photo-essay book is at its core about healing, and about the social justice work that still needs to be done in the era of hip-hop, Black Lives Matter, and the historic presidency of Barack Obama.” —Kevin Powell, author of The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood

“A brilliantly conceived volume. Bryan Shih and Yohuru Williams demonstrate why the Panthers’ story—its lessons and failures—even fifty years after its founding remains key to understanding national and international struggles for freedom and justice today.” —Cheryl Finley, professor and director of visual studies, Cornell University

Even fifty years after it was founded, the Black Panther Party remains one of the most misunderstood political organizations of the twentieth century. But beyond the labels of “extremist” and “violent” that have marked the party, and beyond charismatic leaders like Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldridge Cleaver, were the ordinary men and women who made up the Panther rank and file.

In The Black Panthers, photojournalist Bryan Shih and historian Yohuru Williams offer a reappraisal of the party’s history and legacy. Through stunning portraits and interviews with surviving Panthers, as well as illuminating essays by leading scholars, The Black Panthers reveals party members’ grit and battle scars—and the undying love for the people that kept them going.

about Bryan Shih and Yohuru Williams

  • Bryan Shih is a photojournalist based in New York. A former contributor to the Financial Times and National Public Radio in Japan, he is a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and a former Fulbright scholar. His work on the Panthers has garnered him one of the highest rankings among entries in the LensCulture 2015 Portrait Awards competition, and has led to his selection for the New York Times inaugural portfolio review.

    Yohuru Williams is a historian and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University. He is the author and or editor of several books on the Black Panther party, including Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven (Blackwell, 2006), In Search of the Black Panther Party, New Perspectives on a Revolutionary Movement (Duke, 2006), and Liberated Territory: Toward a Local History of the Black Panther Party (Duke, 2008). He has appeared on Al Jazeera America, Ebru TV, Fox Business, C-SPAN, and NPR.


"'The Black Panthers' succeeds by destroying any assumptions you may have had [about the Black Panther Party]. The book tells the story of the Black Panthers through first-person accounts from people who were part of the movement but who mostly were not the stars—people who look like they could be my aunts and uncles...[It] does the much needed task of bringing the movement down to earth." —Rembert Browne, New York Times Book Review

“While no doubt rooted in the past, Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution focuses squarely on the present, with portraits and interviews with former members today. While the authors did an excellent job of tracking down higher-ups in the party, the book smartly turns its focus to the ‘real heroes,’ the group's rank-and-file members, giving us a fuller picture of life as a Black Panther, and the impact those years had on people's lives… A well-rounded primer on the Black Panther Party, then and now, top to bottom.” —Mother Jones

“During our moment of Black Lives Matter on the one hand and Trump-enabled open racism and hatred on the other, connecting to the stories of a previous generation of activists feels vital, and in these portraits, quite stunning.” —Flavorwire

“The definitive celebration of the Black Panthers.” —The Rumpus

“An eye-opening experience…Reading The Black Panthers has changed a lot for me. The photos, the essays, the information found in this volume have now made my education on the Party paramount. Their movement will now be part of my activism, their fight, which sadly still rages on, is my fight.” —Dan Arel, Patheos

“An intelligent, unapologetic book.” —Shelf Awareness

“Fifty years [since the party’s founding], photojournalist Shih and historian Williams observe that the party remains ‘one of the most misunderstood organizations of the twentieth century.’ To dispel this fog, they met with 45 surviving rank-and-file members, men and women who went on to become teachers, professors, attorneys, elected officials, founders and directors of not-for-profit organizations, and artists. Each is present here in striking photographic portraits and revelatory oral histories…Incisive essays provide a larger historical context.” —Booklist, *Starred Review*

“With a splendid assemblage of pictures and interviews, photographer Shih and historian Williams shine fresh light on the people in and the diverse activities of the Black Panther Party (BPP) on the 50th anniversary of its founding. Shih’s photographs of the 45 interviewees have the vibrancy and immediacy of treasured family portraits. The interviewees’ compelling recollections are buttressed by succinct but substantive essays…The special virtue of this book is as bottom-up, rather than top-down, history—an illuminating view of the everyday aspects of “one of the most misunderstood organizations of the 20th century.” —Publishers Weekly

“This highly recommended compilation of interviews and photographs of the Black Panther Party helps reframe its legacy to include the humanitarian work they performed across the United States. Readers interested in the current Black Lives Matter movement will find resonance in the Panthers’ stories.” —Library Journal

“An interesting celebration of a unique era’s activism.” —Kirkus Reviews

"A half century ago the Black Panther Party shocked America. With their black berets and black leather jackets and slogans o

other editions

  • Paperback | ISBN 9781568585550
    Pub date: 2016-09-13 | Price: $24.99/32.50 Canada
    Publisher: Nation Books
    6.900 x 10.000 | 288 Pages
    History / United States / 20th Century
    Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
    Photography / Subjects & Themes / Historical

  • eBook | ISBN 9781568585567
    Pub date: 2016-09-13 | Price: $16.99/16.99 Canada
    Publisher: Nation Books
    6.125 x 9.250 | 288 Pages
    History / United States / 20th Century
    Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
    Photography / Subjects & Themes / Historical